Posts Tagged ‘Langhorne Slim’

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Dart In The Map

Review of The Futureheads’ The Chaos and giveaway

Photo via Goldest EggGoldest EggIf there’s a rule that bands are supposed to mellow and get more introspective as they age, no one told Sunderland, England’s Futureheads. After briefly making Newcastle the next epicentre of Brit-rock with their 2004 self-titled debutMaximo Park and Field Music would emerge from the same scene – the quartet would release two more records of their distinctive, harmony-laden jerky New Wave with less success than their debut, some complaining that the breakneck rhythms and energy that made The Futureheads so infectious were lacking on the follow-ups.

I can’t comment on the veracity of those comments, as I don’t think I heard either News & Tributes or This Is Not The World though I did see them on tour for the former in Summer of 2006, and they certainly had as much energy as I could have expected. And having made the acquaintance of their newest record The Chaos – out today – I think I can say that if the last couple records were indeed a bit soft, then this can be considered a return to form as sonically, it’s pretty much monolithic. The four-part harmonies, with their clipped phrasing and sharp accents, are still exceptionally tight and as far from a barber shop quartet as you can get and the guitars, if aptly described as “wiry” circa their debut are now akin to electrical transmission lines in girth. Coupled with songs that are maybe a notch or two less immediate than their earlier material but still eminently catchy and performed at a pace that only a bona fide speed freak would call anything but barrelling, The Chaos has all the manic energy promised by its title, encapsulated in compact 3-minute pop packages. Some more dynamics – or just an opportunity to catch one’s breath – over the course of the record would have been welcome, but there’ll be time enough for that when they’re older.

The Futureheads are kicking off a North American tour tonight in New York and will be rolling through Toronto on June 10 for date at the Mod Club. Advance tickets are $18.50 in advance but courtesy of Goldest Egg, i’ve got a pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to have a Futurehead” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and get that in to me before midnight, June 7.

Futurehead guitarist Ross Millard talks to Spinner about some of the political themes that have worked their way into the new record.

MP3: The Futureheads – “Struck Dumb”
Video: The Futureheads – “Heartbeat Song”
Stream: The Futureheads / The Chaos
MySpace: The Futureheads

Drowned In Sound reports the new Manic Street Preachers record – the one Nicky Wire compared to Aerosmith’s Pump – will be entitled Postcards From A Young Man and be out in the UK on September 20. Was not expecting new MSP so soon; very happy.

Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes talks to Billboard about some of the ideas she’s kicking around for album number three, including working with Beck. have premiered a new video from Vampire Weekend, who are at the Molson Amphitheatre on September 7.

Video: Vampire Weekend – “Holiday”

Flagpole and The Daily Record have interviews with The Hold Steady while NPR has the band in for a World Cafe session. There’s an MP3 now available to download from Heaven Is Whenever, which they’ll be performing at the Kool Haus on July 17.

MP3: The Hold Steady – “Hurricane J”

Chart talked to LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy before their show in Toronto last week. The Vancouver Sun and The New York Times also have interviews.

The National’s Aaron Dessner talks to The Boston Herald. They’re at Massey Hall next week on June 8 and 9.

The Guardian chats with Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste.

NYC Taper has a recording of Holly Miranda’s homecoming show in New York City last week available to share while has a video session recorded on the University of Toronto campus which includes a cover of Sparklehorse’s “Hundreds Of Sparrows”. If one good thing comes out of the passing of Mark Linkous, let it be more and more beautiful Sparklehorse covers. The Sydney Morning Herald also has an interview with Ms Miranda.

Uncensored has an extensive video interview with Nicole Atkins.

The Times-Union profiles Phantogram.

NPR talks to Josh Ritter and premieres the new video from So The World Runs Away.

Video: Josh Ritter – “The Curse”

Chart, The Windsor Star, Chart, The Colorado Springs Independent and NOW profile Broken Bells, in town at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre tomorrow night.

The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle gets sombre with The Georgia Straight.

NPR is streaming Blitzen Trapper’s new album Destroyer Of The Void in advance of its release next week. Learn all the words and sing along when they play the Opera House on August 3.

Stream: Blitzen Trapper / Destroyer Of The Void

The Brother Kite’s Isolation has finally been granted a release date – look for the CD on September 14 and a vinyl edition to follow in November. Preview a few tracks at their website and count the days.

Before playing the Horseshoe that evening, tUnE-yArDs will do an in-store at Soundscpaes on June 13 at 3PM in the afternoon, perfect for those – like myself – who are curious but not ready to commit an evening to see her.

MP3: tUnE-yArDs – “Sunlight”
Video: tUnE-yArDs – “Real Live Flesh”

Fresh off opening up for Sharon Jones at the Sound Academy last week, UK funk-soul brothers The Heavy will play a free show at Harbourfront Centre on July 9 at 8PM as part of this year’s edition of Beats, Breaks & Culture.

MP3: The Heavy – “Colleen”

Langhorne Slim, who was great supporting Drive-By Truckers back in April has his own date at the Horseshoe on July 21, tickets $12.50 in advance.

MP3: Langhorne Slim – “I Love You But Goodbye”

It’s being billed as “Disco Lemonade”, but other appropriate names might be “You Got Your Sensitive Singer-Songwriter In My Dance Party”, “When Disparate Tours Collide”, “I Want The Venue No *I* Want The Venue” or just plain “WTF”. I speak of the show taking place at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 30, which will feature Keane, Robyn, Ingrid Michaelson, Kelis, Fran Healy, Dan Black and Far East Movement. Tickets range from $29.50 to $49.50, the show begins at 3:30PM – yes, that’s on a Friday – and it’s reasonably safe to say that everyone who goes to this show will see something they probably would never have gone to see otherwise. I actually saw this bill on Pollstar a couple weeks ago and assumed it was a typo. Silly me.

Video: Keane – “Clear Skies”
Video: Robyn – “With Every Heartbeat”
Video: Ingrid Michaelson – “The Way I Am”
Video: Kelis – “Milkshake”
Video: Travis – “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?”
Video: Dan Black – “Symphonies”
Video: Far East Movement – “Fetish”

Goth godfather Peter Murphy has a date at Lee’s Palace on August 10, tickets $29.50 in advance.

Video: Peter Murphy – “Cuts You Up”

Mice Parade have a date at the El Mocambo on September 29.

Friday, April 9th, 2010

The Big To-Do

Drive-By Truckers and Langhorne Slim at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe word around The Big To-Do – the latest album from Drive-By Truckers – is that it’s the band’s best since their generally-acknowledged high-water mark, Southern Rock Opera. I have trouble subscribing to this because in my mind, that double-album opus is head, shoulders and torso above anything else the band has done not just because it kicks ass, but because of the ambition, concept and scope behind it, and the Truckers have had the good sense to not even try to top it on its terms. It simply stands alone.

But it is true that The Big To-Do deserves to be celebrated as the Truckers’ most solid effort in a while. It achieves that distinction largely by being the most up and consistently rocking of their records in recent memory, but particularly when compared to 2008’s Brighter Than Creation’s Dark. That record was the sound of the band finding its feet after the departure of one third of their songwriters in Jason Isbell, and having found steady footing (and another guitarist in John Neff and a capable singer/songwriter in bassist Shonna Tucker), The Big To-Do has them again moving forward, pedal to the metal.

That trajectory brought the band to Toronto for the better part of this week for two nights at Lee’s Palace (as well as an in-store performance). My general philosophy towards multi-night stands is that given the choices, the closing show is the one to hit and so it was that I piled into the hot and sweaty room with hundreds of other rowdy Truckers fans – is there any other kind? – this past Wednesday night. Pennsylvania’s Langhorne Slim was tapped to open both nights and was exceptional in the warm-up role, leading his band through a set of energetic country-blues that offered both solid tunes and exceptional showmanship and striking the right balance between acting out and staying cool.

Just to get it out of the way, there is no such thing as a bad Drive-By Trucker show. Road warriors and rock monsters both, I think it’s physically impossible for them to not give their all every time they set foot on a stage. That said, not all evenings are equal and as good as this show was, it didn’t quite measure up to the last couple times I’d seen them – their Rock’N’Roll Means Well tour with The Hold Steady in November 2008 made for a uniquely epic double bill, but it was their October 2006 show at the Phoenix that set the standard for what a Truckers show should be, clocking in at two and a half hours of reckless abandon and with Isbell still in the band.

This time out they leaned even heavier on the new material than I’d expected with 11 of The Big To-Do‘s 14 tracks showcased and the Isbell era – which includes most of my favourite Truckers tunes – completely ignored save for two numbers from Decoration Day. I’d also go so far as to say that they didn’t quite get up to the same musical velocity that I’d seen them achieve before, instead settling into a slightly lower cruising altitude than expected for the two-plus hours.

Even so, as I said earlier, there’s no such thing as a bad Truckers show and this wasn’t anything like a bad Truckers show. I’d never expected to see them in such cozy quarters again, and that extra degree of intimacy ensured that regardless of anything else, it would be a memorable show. The two-night engagement allowed the band to make themselves at home a little bit more than they normally would, with the stage decked out in their signature Wes Freed artwork including a giant marching band bass drum with “Drive-By Truckers” emblazoned across it behind Brad Morgan’s drum kit. There was plenty of sweat and guitar solos, and both Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley were in fine voice throughout, though only half of Tucker’s leads sounded great; “Home Field Advantage” didn’t work out too well thanks to either forgotten lyrics, a poor mix or some combination thereof. They capped things off with a raging cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World”, being maybe the only band today who can still play that song and elicit fist pumps rather than eye rolls. No, it wasn’t the longest or most intense Truckers show I’d ever seen, but it was still a hell of a thing. Let there be rock.

Photos: Drive-By Truckers, Langhorne Slim @ Lee’s Palace – April 7, 2010
MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “This Fucking Job”
MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “Birthday Boy”
MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “Zip City”
MP3: Langhorne Slim – “I Love You But Goodbye”
Video: Drive-By Truckers – “Never Gonna Change”
Video: Langhorne Slim – “Be Set Free”
Video: Langhorne Slim – “Restless”
Video: Langhorne Slim – “In The Midnight”
Video: Langhorne Slim – “Rebel Side Of Heaven”
MySpace: Drive-By Truckers
MySpace: Langhorne Slim

Seattle Weekly talks to Britt Daniel of Spoon.

Aversion and eye have interviews and MPR a session with Titus Andronicus, in town to do some damage to Sneaky Dee’s tonight.

Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan talks to Spinner about the band’s first new album in almost a decade, due out sometime this year.

Philadelphia Weekly interviews Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, in town on Sunday for a 4PM 3PM in-store at Sunrise records and a show at the Phoenix later that evening. Note that there are no openers so BRMC go on at 8PM sharp.

PopMatters has a feature on The Antlers, in town opening up for The National at Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

MPR is streaming a session with Beach House, while The San Jose Mercury News has an interview; they play the Toronto Island Concert on June 19.

Pitchfork has details on the forthcoming Mates Of State covers record Crushes (The Covers Mixtape), due out this Summer – head over to their website to download their version of Girls’ “Laura”.

Spinner gets a look at Phantogram’s secret subterranean headquarters.

Aquarium Drunkard is sharing the audio of a session with Miles Kurosky.

Under The Radar gets to know John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

MOG chats with Broken Bells’ James Mercer. They’ll be at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on June 2.